Blogs

Thermal Paper as a Polarity and Acidity Detector

Thermal paper such as that used for point of sale receipts typically functions by darkening when exposed to heat. The pigment system used in this paper also darkens when exposed to solvents of intermediate polarity and acids. This enables thermal paper to be used as an inexpensive sort of indicator paper for a variety of demonstrations.

Using a Gallery Walk inquiry activity to guide students through naming binary ionic compounds with variable charges

While students usually do well with naming binary ionic compounds of fixed charge, many students struggle with naming ionic compounds that contain ions of variable charge. This activity uses a technique often found in humanities classes, a gallery walk, as a guided inquiry experience harnessing real-life applications of several sets of related compounds to address many common misconceptions and lead students to discover the meaning of the Roman numerals when naming and writing formulas for these compounds.

Video Pre-Labs Improve the Lab Experience

Teaching during COVID was challenging; however, a few positive results surprisingly emerged. For one, Josh Kenney filmed a small library of chemistry lab videos for use in virtual chemistry labs after his school switched to remote learning. At first, he wasn't sure if he would continue to use those videos when his district returned to in-person instruction until he discovered that they would make excellent pre-lab assignments.